Mac's Blog I just say what comes into my head…

8Oct/080

So… WAR…

So after Jode/Beldri/Fox were going on about WAR all those many months ago i decided to give it a try and see if i was right about it being a WoW copy...

Now before i go any further i have only gotten 2 characters to the tier 2 mark, so i havent done any high end stuff. I also still dont know what im doing with some crafting things. With that stuff in mind i will commence with the good the bad and the ugly, well as far as WAR is concerned.

The Good

Public quests

Now these things here are something that other MMOs should take onboard. Its basically an area of the world where everyone works together to achieve goals, be it killing X amount of X creature, or examining X items or even assasinating X person. Now it may not sound that much fun, but when you have a decent amount of people in the area and you are all getting to the last minute of the chapter with 5 more eggs to find ontop of a mountain in the middle of nowhere it gets quite exciting. Once everyone has chipped in and completed the 3 chapters of that public quest, a rewards chest appears that everyone rolls for, now its all automated so none of that need/greed rolls that people exploit. It just works out whos put in the most work, and gives them a roll bonus, giving them more chance to win something, quite good fun and you get influence that will allow you to get other items from NPCs.

PvP Leveling

WHY OH WHY cant other MMOs do this? WoW is nice for PvP when you dont do it often, but after you have done AB or AV for the 3rd time you start to wonder why you are spending time running into battle, dying and then having to spend a few mins running all over the map again to get killed to get a piddly amount of reputation and badges... WAR takes PvP a step further and gives 3 PvP scenarios per tier, although im not sure if there are other PvP types later. So far ive visted about 4 out of the 6 available PvP scenarios and ive possibly spent more time leveling from PvP than i have out in the open world, well on one of my characters.

Its not that being out in the open world is not fun, as it is, and the random wars that occur are great fun in open PvP, but in scenario PvP you can keep repeating quests, items drop from players occasionally (not their items but random drops), its like being in a battlefield all the time, which is what WAR is about i guess.

World Map Quest Locations

The world map itself feels clunky and unhelpful, however the quest part of it seems great! it tells me where my quests are (roughly) and will tell me a summary of what im doing. Genius for mapping out where to go to make best use of your time.

The Bad

Cheap WoW Ripoff in SOOOO many ways

Forgetting the whole warcraft may have ripped off warhammer years ago or whatever, when you first log into WAR you could be tricked into thinking you were in WoW. The UI is pretty much the same, and i mean LOOKS THE SAME and is positioned the same to begin with. There is the obvious similarity between WoWs art style and WARs, i mean the elf lands have towers that look like they could have been taken from the blood elf lands, and the dwarf areas and just ironforge, however once you get out of the starting areas it starts to get a bit more unique and different. The models for the players look a bit more detailed than WoWs and the game has a *slighly* more adult feel to it, but at the end of the day its impossible to look at WAR without remembering WoW.

Battle System Is Flaky

Now this is one of the more important points... When i first started playing, Jode and myself were running round the orc areas on our little RP-PVP server (we thought there would be fewer idiots on there), and we came across a dwarf healer who was only 1 level above us. He came to attack and we both tried to fight back, although heres where the problem occured.

The game was a tiny bit laggy anyway, but whenever we were using our skills it wasnt seeming to hit the dwarf and we were not using up energy, although the animations were being played. We chased him around for ages trying to hit him and whenever we did land a hit he just healed back up and was unstoppable... We then decided to run away and he gave chase using some flame wreath style move, and he ended up killing both of us AND a hunter who joined us mid battle. After another attempt the ONLY way we could kill him was if he stood still and we wailed on our skills, and that just feels wrong. At least in most other MMOs when i click my skill it will either tell me that they are out of range or i dont have energy or something, it wont just play as if everything went well but nothing acctually happens. This just makes battling feel a bit ropey and there have been times where im mashing all my skills in PvP to find out none of them were even cast on the enemy, or i cast a heal and it never acctually went off. This is something they SERIOUSLY need to address in the up and coming patches, as its hard enough to heal yourself never mind other people that the game decideds not to cast upon.

The Ugly

General look of the game

Right well thats not really fair... as it looks ok, but it runs like a slugh with salt on it. I play it on minimal settings on a laptop with 2x 7900 GTX cards and a 2.5Ghz Turion and 2GB Ram. Now ok im not expecting jaw dropping FPS and settings but it would be nice if the game looked a little better and ran a little smoother. WoW is roughly 3 years old now, and it gets away with average graphics because of its art style, however WAR is a NEW game, has only just come out, yet it looks like games did about 4 years ago, which would be fine if it played like games 4 years old do on newer systems. I can run UT3 on full settings without any worries, with this on low end settings it sometimes stutters around, especially in PvP. I think they should try to optimise the game alot more over the next few months, WoW is a bit sketchy on my machine, but only when i run it in top end settings with all my addons on.

THE AMOUNT OF BUGS

Christ its pretty much a beta game they released early, ive had random bugs such as text from PvP ground staying on my screen after battles, UIs that wont dissapear, falling through floors, being unable to hit people hitting me, public quests that dont dissapear after i leave the area, skills that appear active even though they are not. I mean when i first started i wanted to follow Jode (/follow) as i was lazy and he knew the way, however when i right clicked on him, follow was grayed out. Tried it on many people, always grayed out, yet if i type /follow it works fine. Same sort of thing with dancing, ive tried to dance with some people just for a laugh, and it tells me "You refuse to dance"... WHAT... I JUST TOLD HIM TO DANCE! It just feels ropey and unfinished in alot of areas, which are not too great when you are competing with the MAIN MMO these days, and its about to release an expansion.

Crafting

Crafting just feels badly put together. It is nice how they have given it a twist so you dont know what you are making, you just plonk stuff together and hope for the best, but there are 2 trades that are pretty much useless. The only decent gathering skill i found was scavenging, as it meant i was able to get vast amounts of crap and sell them. It just feels broken and pointless making talismans or potions. Also it has a great tendancy to bug out when you fail a recipie but want to try again, so you have to reset your crafting screen and start again... im glad someone tried something new, but crafting can be implemented simply and made to be complex, but this just seems complex without any real gain.

Ultimatly it feels like a Cheap WoW Clone, which takes some of the good MMO concepts out there and tries to add some new features, some well some poorly. They should seriously look into doing some chat improvements, such as adding shift click items into chat and clicking on peoples names lets you PM them, rather than having to manually type a tell to someone every time. Its all the little things that make other MMOs bareable past the first few months that the game seems to be missing at the moment. Dont get me wrong the PvP makes up for alot of this, but these seemingly simple problems could be overcome fairly quickly if they wanted to, and would make the game run ALOT smoother for players.

Although im enjoying the game more than i expected, its pretty much just me playing at the moment but i dont mind it too much as i can PvP or join an open party at any time, whereas on WoW it just feels like a grind from log in to log out. Anyway there is an update on it incase anyone is interested!

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2Aug/080

WAR == WOW???

Ok so as most of you know i like to rant about games that rub me the wrong way... Halo was a great example, i didnt like it so i said so, much to the dismay of my friends who loved it.

Anyway as i havent really ranted about anything for a while, i thought one was in order, linking to a discussion i had the other day at home with Jode/Jen.

If any of you have been watching the <a href="http://www.war-europe.com" target="_BLANK">Warhammer Online</a> (Even the website is named like WoW) screenys and videos as the game was developing you may have thought either of 2 things....

OMG THATS AWESOME

or

OMG THATS WOW

As im sure you guessed i went with the latter, and a good friend of mine came up with the argument that Warhammer was around waaaaay before Warcraft, which is a fair point. However they didnt have an MMO or a game that looked anything like WoW before Blizzard did, which in my eyes means they are the ones who created that art style in an MMO.

Now its not entirely fair for me to say they look identical as there are a few differences in how they look. However any screenshots with dwarves looks like ironforge, and any shots with elves in looks like the blood elf lands. I mean the towers look IDENTICAL, and they even have a train in their dwarf lands like Ironforge...

I mean WoW wasnt anything revolutionary when it first came out, and i ranted about that as i didnt like the style of it (still prefer Lineage 2's graphics), and it seemed to lose alot of the community elements that other MMOS had. However there was one MAJOR thing that made WoW awesome in my eyes... ADDONS. Many people forget that but addons are the best thing since sliced bread, every MMO should allow you to make your own addons. I havent heard anything like this for WAR, but if they brought that in i may be a bit happier about it.

As far as gameplay goes, the only difference i keep hearing is this RvR, however it just sounds like a mix of battleground and open PvP which WoW has had forever and a day.

Ultimatly it looks like a game that should have been out 2 years ago, it looks dated and like WoW, which is the industry leader at the moment. There is no excuse for trying to reinvent the wheel, especially when the current itteration of the wheel is doing the job well. They have the 40k setting that they could have used to blow us all away, but instead they wanted to play it safe, i hope they will come out with 40k, but maybe World of Starcraft will beat them to it, that would make me laugh alot.

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1Dec/070

Thats Soooooo Jaber

The Man, The Myth, The Legend...

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17Oct/070

How to help WoW Addicts…

We were discussing WoW addiction amongst other topics in the office today and someone found this GENIUS link:

Break a WoW Addiction

Being an ex WoW player i can see how alot of people become addicted, there is alot of stuff to do and due to its repetative nature its a good way for people to just waste lots of time for very little percievable gain, especially if you are a kid and you will just do the laziest thing possible. However after looking through this article i couldn't help but disect some of it and have a little rant about it.

"Play a different videogame. Sure, you might just find yourself in another addiction, but at least you're not paying 15 bucks every month."

This was laughable... Main reason I played WoW is because its financially appeasing. They are effectivly saying stop paying £10 a month, and pay £40 per game every month, as lets face it most gamers will get bored of games after a month and want something new to get their teeth into. This can in some ways cause people to blow ALOT of their income on games that they will never play, in this context I find WoW the lesser of 2 evils. You can decide for yourself if that gem is worth listening to.

"Make it a joint effort. Believe it or not, many people play World of Warcraft simply because their friends play it, and they find it enjoyable to spend time with them in WoW. If this is the case, then convince your friends to stop playing (with these steps, if needed), or even better, find another game to play. Otherwise, explain to your friends and family what you're doing, and ask them to help you stay on track. When you can't trust yourself to keep away from WoW, you have to trust someone else to stop you."

Ok this isnt exactly BAD advice, but for most people who > 18 years old will realise that most of the time you meet up with friends you go do some sort of event. Be it going to the pub, going bowling, going for a meal or whatever other events you do as friends. Most of this sort of stuff costs money, and to be fair it is ALOT more fun than playing WoW but at the cost of your wages. If you meet up with your friends every couple of weeks for some event and play WoW in the mean time with them you would save loads of money and still have the random chats that you would anyway. I play with alot of friends who are gamers (Real life friends not made up ones :) ) and its much easier to keep in contact with someone via a computer than it is to meet up with them every few days.

I think there is a bit more too this bit of advice but i guess its really up to you how much you want to see your friends and how much your friends want to see you.

"Schedule other activities with your free time, so you won't have time to play WoW. One of the most effective way is to get a part time job and book every free time you have to work"

Oh man this is genius in theory, dont bother having spare time... just work instead. I guess if you dont have a job in the first place it may be fairly decent as an idea, but for those of us who already work its a way to lose any spare time you ever had. I like the way they make free time sound like a commodity you own i would like 5 free times please.

There are some other great sentances in there but it just all seems a bit to unrealistic to me, and it also has that zing of "American Powertalking" in there to motivate you to change your ways and become a better human being in some way or other. I find MMOs as a great way to keep in contact with friends, as well as a cost effective way to entertain myself on some days after work, with or without friends.

I would also like to point out that im in no way making WoW addiction or other addictions a joke, im sure it can ruin alot of peoples lives, i just find alot of this advice to be either wrong or unhelpful to the common game player, remember everything is good in moderation!

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17Sep/070

(WoW + Kiddies + Ventrillo) = Idiot

Oh man, during my lunch break today i was scouring the net for some stuff to amuse me and i found a GREAT thing @ Game Revolution...

I have to go to bed at Instance o'clock

I laughed my ass off at the kid in that, poor bugger must have been in black temple or something ready to down illidan and get his loot to kick up that much of a fuss.

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5Jul/070

What Would Make WoW Better – Part 2

The other day me and Isszuzu were bored and started discussing item sets, and i was commenting on how it would be cool to see a warrior with missile launchers on their shoulders and maybe a mage who has crazy electrical armour and a rogue who can get a stealth suit so they are kinda predator style...

This is where a new instance would come in Area 54... imagine having a new gnome/goblin based instance which is REALLY high tech, and in there you got a tier 4.5 set. You would have bosses which are like lepper gnomes in a big tank, like the ones you see near ironforge, but it keeps spitting out gnomes out the back and it keeps trying to run the tank over...

Then you could have a boss who are a load of gnomes in like a chopper who file missiles at raid members and you have to get tanks to taunt the missiles before they hit other raid members every minute or so, and you could have a small boss like the chess game in Kara where you all have to control a robot and have a battle with other robots...

The main thing about the instance as i said earlier would be the awesome futuristic looking sets, so warriors would look like big robots with missile launchers on their shoulders, and i would LOVE to see rogues get a stealth suit where they always look semi transparent or predator effect, which im sure they COULD implement into WoW. Then the mages could have like a biosuit with electrical pulses running all over it. Warlocks could get a void based set which has void holes coming out of it with like a shadowy smoke coming off it.

The hunters could get a set that turns one of their arms into a missile launcher or something and like a distortion field, priests could get a set with loads of lights on it and some spinning disc around themselves possibly a set with an overshield on it for a paladin or something... i mean you could have some really cool looking sets...

it would also be cool if you could get some crazy Use command stuff with the items...

Like the rogues could get a Self Displacement Generator which would banish themselves for like 3 seconds, and the warlocks could get a Void Leak which would start doing random holes on the floor nearby the warlock that did like 200 dmg to anything in them every couple of seconds...

Hunters could get Hydra Lock which would launch a missile from their rocket arm that did like 500 damage every minute or something like that... Warriors could get Countermeasures so their rocket launchers on the shoulders launch countermeasures that could either distract nearby enemies for a second or two, or could be like grounding totems and absorb the next spell < 200 damage.

Mages could get Discharge which would keep building up charges as they get hit then when they want to discharge it does a 500 hit to someone who they target or something, kinda like the Lightning Capacitor but in an armour set...

Shamans could get Elemental Infusion where they become enveloped with a random element which gives them 40 resistance to it as well as 5% extra damage to that shock...

Also it would be cool if they had a train area, where you have like deeprun tram, but in a large circle and you keep going up and up and up on it, however each carrige gets mobs spawning on it as you go, so you have to have like a decent 5 man group per carrige on the train to down the mobs that spawn... they would have to be a bit bigger than deeprun carriges though...

Then you could have an anti grav room where everyone gets a slow fall buff and when you hit the ground you get thrown up in the air, so the whole battle would take place in the air with people flying around... that would be fun...

You priests could get Hypno Disc where you use it and the spinning discs on you causes less distress to the enemies, effectivley lowering your threat slightly...

Druids could also Natural Synthisis where they can basically create some lesser berries or something that give a small amount of mana/hp back to people, so they are not on par with mages creation abilities but its like the magical hat you can get in outlands mixed with the underspore frond...

Paladins could get something funny like Self Destruct where it causes them to take all agro from a mob for like 5 seconds, and they become invincible but after the 5 seconds they blow up doing 3k damage to any surrounding mobs then the paladin dies, which sounds pointless but on those parts where a boss goes nuts for a few seconds you could sacrifice a paladin to keep the raid alive...

I would also like to see a REALLY RARE epic mount drop from there that is a minature tank from IF, where you can drive around in it, so you are sat like you normally do in a mount but you only see the top half of your body sticking up through the tanking hole...

Then you could also get an epic flying Gyrocopter just like the gnomes have, if any of you have done the quest in Azhara or whatever the place is called you will know what i mean...

They would have to be REALLY rare though, like a 0.001% drop chance...

Could you imagine a tauren riding a really small gyrocopter...

Anyway its just an idea we came up with, really just a way to justify someone having missle launchers for shoulders and a stealth suit for rogues... but it sounded cool at the time

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17Apr/070

(NWN + RP) + Players = Fun?

Back when i was in University with Rolf and the crew we took a liking to Neverwinter Nights. We played it on a LAN quite a few times, we played it on single player a few times, but we never played it online.

I remember back before it was released hearing about the ability to have Persistent Worlds where you could make... well a persistent world for players...

After a while Mez and myself tried a few PW servers, and eventually found one that suited our tastes CoA (City Of Arabel). This was the MOST fun i had ever had on an online game, there were no shitkids running round screaming profanities or trying to kill each other. There were lots of quests and quite a few players there.

I remember showing Jode this and wanting to buy a sword as my cleric was using his fists alone at the moment. So i went to the nearest building, which happened to be a temple and started rummaging through cupboards and chests in hope of finding some gold. As luck would have it i did, and i had a few books to sell, SCORE!

This is when i realised it was an RP server, when some righteous elf ran up to me screaming "GUARDS GUARDS" and he then tried to subdue me with my stolen property. Jode and myself were laughing at this and decided to try and make a break for it, so we ran out of the temple being chased by a mad elf throwing melfs acid arrows at me.

JUST as i died i managed to throw all the stolen goods i had in a bin, and the guards (who were also players) came over searched me and saw nothing incriminating and let me go...

Macro: 1 - Mad Elf: 0

After that initial encounter we met up with Mez and wandered round a bit and realised how much other people were RPing, be it a small chat with someone in the street, or planning an epic adventure or trading crafted goods. We tried to join in, and made some new friends on the server who we would adventure with quite often in the future.

Although it started to get a bit mundane having to RP every tiny thing, which for some people is great fun, but for me it was becoming a little boring.

After a good few months of trying to RP as best i could, it just wasn't good enough and after a while i left the server. Although we had some great times on it :) , we tried to lead revolutions, we were part of manhunts, epic battles in lich infested graveyards. All of this stuff was great fun but it dawned on me that RPing was like alcohol, some people like the odd drink every now and again just to taste it. Others like to drink quite a few and get merry and then have some fun, while others like to just drink constantly and become alcoholics. Not that im saying hardcore RPers are alcoholics, although im sure it would make some awesome quests if they were.

After leaving there i went and played Lineage 2 and WoW for a while, but am now finding it a tad boring running round doing pointless quests/grinding, where the best conversation you get is someone calling you a noob.

Due to this i thought i would try and find a NWN 2 PW server, even though i hated the actual game i was hoping that PWs could at least give me justification for buying the game.

Couldn't find many, but i found one that had a good number of people in and joined.

I was put into town and i could already feel the atmosphere, there wasn't any little kiddies PKing, or any spams in the trade channel. I thought i would go off an explore, and i found myself wanding a road into some forest area. The sky was getting darker and darker and I was finally out in the middle of no where all alone. I could hear the wolves howling and rustles of little critters running around.

Then BAM out of no where an orc man appears!

I thought its an RP server so lets try the old RP again, "Hello there". This orc guy starts doing the old *looks at you*, and all the other RP stuff and then we have a good 5 minute conversation explaining that im lost and want to get to an outpost or town. He then takes me to the closest town, which is where i originally came from :( .

This is where im sure other peoples sense of fun will diverge a bit, but I didnt find this much fun. Ok it was nice keeping up the illusion that we were both adventurers, I like that aspect. It was nice having someone to talk to, but ultimately I just wanted to go to town, I would have wanted to just say hi, ask for the nearest town, then head off. A 2 minute trip, or a 10 min RP fest...

Is there a middle ground where you can keep up the illusion of being an adventurer and really put in the effort on big events or quests?

Im rambling again so im gonna wrap this up, but i feel that its all or nothing when it comes to NWN RP servers, you have to either RP all the time, spending more time typing than adventuring. Alternatly the other servers have no RP and are full of random people talking rubbish killing each other for their loot. Im trapped in the middle of the spectrum and am looking for a good PW server, let me know if you find one.

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10Apr/070

Mexican Jeff Presents…

Well as we haven't bothered posting any of our culonary creations on here in a while i thought it would be a nice time to add our own Firecracker Tacos to the site... Im not entirely sure if they were Tacos or just something alltogether different...

[Images No Longer On Host]

Sorry for the crappy quality i was taking the pictures with my phone, anyway we chowed down on those bad boys and were quite impressed with ourselves for making something that didnt look like vomit... We also had a tragic game of Wii Golf where Jode emerged on top by some bizzare turn of events. Needless to say Mexican Jeff was in tears at losing his hard earned skill points.

We then finished off by playing the classic 1990s Turtles arcade game on the Xbox, i could have sworn that Donatello was the best character, but he was pants... After about 30 mins of playing it 3 player we realised it wasnt worth the £4 or so that we paid for it...

For those of you who still play WoW out there, we all seemed to create Paladin characters a couple of weeks ago for a laugh... i mean who doesnt want wings on their character! I've managed to get mine up to about level 50 now and i must say that they are not too bad with the combat revamp from TBC!

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1Mar/070

PS3 Almost Released

Well... under a month to go now before the PS3 is launched. At £425 I aint going to buy it until it comes WAAAAY down in price.

Im sure WoW and the Wii can keep me entertained until it does drop in price.

One thing that is quite annoying is the fact that game prices seem to have shot up again by quite a bit, we were discussing this the other day round at Kinky Johns house... or at least i think it was his house.

Games used to be cheap as chips on the C64, i remember getting my £3 pocket money and being able to buy a magazine with like 3 games and 5 demos on, or get 2 brand new games. Then came consoles, which were awesome to be fair, but quite pricey. I had a NES, and had to save up for a month to be able to afford a crappy 2nd hand game

This was quite a jump from £1.50 per game to £30 per game, then followed by the Megadrive and Snes which seemed to be at £40-£50 for some games. It was quite pricey and most people only owned about 5 games and just relied on their friends and christmas to play new ones.

Then came the PSX, i remember a friend of mine getting one when they first came out in the UK, im sure he paid almost £400 for it or something daft. Anyway it was an awesome console and i remember crashing round at his house lots playing on Destruction Derby and Loaded. Games seemed to come back down in price at this point when Saturn and PSX were out together, roughly £30-£40 a game.

Ive just realised how much im rambling here so im just gonna speed it up and say that game prices were quite decent until recently, and now they are shooting back up, and its not a very nice thing for a gamer to have to spend £40-50 for a new game that is pretty but only lasts about 10 hours and is never played again.

PS3 Online Seller Lookup

I have not touched the Wii seller lookup thing for a while, and am not sure if anyone still uses it. Im still not sure if its worth putting up a PS3 seller lookup script as there are so many other people who have dedicated a WHOLE site to doing the same task.

If > 50 people want a PS3 seller lookup script then i will make on just like the Wii lookup to help PS3 hunters get their consoles, although im not sure if there will be much of a shortage with them. If you want one, then post a comment saying so, otherwise best of luck PS3 searching!

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22Jan/070

Last Week… WoW : Burning Crusade

WoW was dull and boring, nothing much to do unless you were a raiding nut... the community was spread out and boring, most things were mundane... only fun thing was making a new character...

THEN BAM...

Burning Crusade appeared...

To be fair this is awesome, I mean i haven't really done anything but run round doing quests, but this new expansion has breathed soooo much life back into the game... There are now LOTS of people leveling together, groups of people PvPing randomly round the world, crazy quests, awesome world PvP objectives, new factions...

The new instances are fairly cool too, they require tactics like the 40 man instances although you can do them with 5 people, you dont need to recruit everyone under the sun to have a happy time in instances.

Well ive been playing since 1 day after the expansion was released, this was when my hols from work started, and i managed to get to level 66 yesterday...

Back to work now, we also made some crazy wrap things the other day which i will post up later, they dont look as grotesque as some of the other foods ive put up on here before.

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